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Help us fix EYE-ELL confusion

Hey Awesome Klingon Beta Testers!

We know a lot of you took a few sessions to figure out that l and I are different letters. Thanks for hanging in there. Every day we see new users frustrated and struggling with the concept. Do any of you have idea how we could make it clearer that you have to hit a different key to get an I versus an l?

Not everyone is going to read the tips and notes. Duo won't change the font for us. We're not going to write tlhIngan Hol wrong just for the course. We can compose custom error messages for particular wrong responses, but they aren't displayed to the learners. I thought that once we got audio it would be obvious, because you can tell I'm not saying BLYLT, can't you? I can't say BLYLT, so I know I'm not.

Once you've been speaking Klingon a while it doesn't matter if the two look identical, because we always know which has to be there, but it is an obstacle at first.

What would have made it easier for you to figure out that there is a difference?

  • Qov

P.S. Feel free to answer this even if it becomes a really old thread. I'm still watching this and will still want to know how to get people to see.

September 25, 2019



ranting quietly to herself

"Does it sound like I'm saying DLVL' or JLYLT? How would I even say that? There is audio for the course. How are you still thinking those are Ls?"


Let people use a lowercase i, because it really doesn't matter in the slightest.

*runs and hides*


calls out to you in your hiding place .... Duo doesn't allow us to police case at all, so users will get perfect scores by typing biyit and divi'. The problem is that they are typing blylt and Dlvl'.

In fact, when the interface presents what users have claimed should be marked correct, I see it in all lower-case, so if I stay in this position long I'll be able to fluently read Duo-accented Klingon.


I meant, present sentences with lowercase i's. It was a joke.


when the interface presents what users have claimed should be marked correct, I see it in all lower-case

Tip: when you click on that line, it will expand to show the individual reports, in their original case.


Awesome! It even puts back the punctuation.


It took me a long time to notice the tail (and having started on iOS I just saw the tips page for the first time). If I recall correctly, however, what I found most useful in the beginning was being forced to type the letters in Klingon. That way I could at least get a definitive answer one way or another for each example that was confusing me.


I was thinking a form (multiple choice) exercise that shows you something like Dlvl' Hol, DIvI' HoI, DIvI' Hol, and Dlvl' HoI, and you have to pick the correct one. But it turns out that course constructors don't control what the wrong answers are in multiple choice.


I have added a "form exercise" for DIvI' with all the variations of I and l. The main problem is that the correct answer will have lower case i. I think we will mostly get complaints that the wrong answers are all exactly the same, but maybe the fact that the correct answer shows the lower case i will help them see the proper spelling even if it doesn't teach them how to tell the difference between I and l. Let's see if that helps. I'll go add some for jIyIt and bIyIt too.


At least catching that "the wrong answers are all the same" will draw attention to it. I don't think it can hurt.


it turns out that course constructors don't control what the wrong answers are in multiple choice.

They can control it for fill-in-the-blanks questions (forms questions).

But (as you said) unfortunately not for entire sentences.


what I found most useful in the beginning was being forced to type the letters in Klingon.

Though that depends on Duolingo -- it generally doesn't force (or even allow) users to type in Klingon (as opposed to selecting from a word bank) until they've reached a higher crown level, and even then it may depend on what kind of device they have. (I've found in the Hindi lesson that using an iPad will allow me to type my own Hindi where if I do the same lesson on an iPhone, it only gives me word bank exercises, with no choice to typing it in myself.)


Ah, I see. I must be overestimating how early in the course I started to feel comfortable with the distinction.


There are two stages, really. One is noticing that there's a difference (and probably hating it), and the next is not needing to peer at the curl, because you've become comfortable with it, and realize which letter can only be in which position. My concern in this thread is mostly with getting people to make that first realization. (But of course I'm interested in your experience of the whole course).


Yes that's an excellent point. Regarding the course overall, I'm having an absolute blast with it, especially now that I've moved to the desktop version. And it sounds like any suggestions I might've had are issues with Duolingo rather than the content (the full-sentence multiple choice questions, ignoring punctuation when checking, etc).

If anything I'd wish for more repetition at a consistent level of difficulty. In particular, vocabulary is not my strength, so I tend to spend a ton of time in practice mode. For example Duolingo seems to want me to move on to Food/Drink, but I'll be getting the hang of Family 1 for a while first.

Finally, if it's useful, I think there's a typo in the notes for Family 1. In the third paragraph describing possessive suffixes (capable of speech), it says:

"For instance, you do not use a possessive suffix to say, "he captain's ship", which would be HoD Duj, but you would use a possessive suffix to say, "his ship", which would be DujDaj."

I think it should say "the captain's ship"? And perhaps relatedly, that entire paragraph (about using these suffixes when the possessor is explicitly stated) is the first one that's given me some trouble, though a careful look at the Klingon made the point very clear.

Overall though, seriously, my huge thanks to you and the other content creators. I've always wanted to learn Klingon and am having so much fun with the course.


I've added in the t and done some other editing to try to simplify the concepts explained in the paragraph a little.


Thank you! I took a look while making my zillionth pass on collateral relatives and at least to me the new version is simpler to follow for a beginner.


I hope it's helpful and not annoying if I point out typos in the tips pages. If so, here's a few:

--In the introduction to question words, towards the bottom of the page, there's a very minor typo that affects the typeface formatting.

"As pronouns, they can act like a noun and they would be placed in the same position as the answer would occur in the sentence:

Sop 'Iv? "Who ate it?

nuq Sop?** "What did he eat?""

I believe there are two missing asterisks before nuq Sop

-- In the last paragraph of the beneficiaries page, I think there's an error in the last English translation:

"There is sometimes a temptation to use the -vaD suffix to relate two nouns when English uses the word "for", as in, "a message for the captain". Klingon does not use the -vaD suffix for this kind of connection and in the vast majority of cases, you are better off using the genitive noun-noun construction: HoD QIn "a message of the the captain"."

-- In the page on sentences as objects, something appears to have gone wrong with the formatting of the sixth paragraph. Maybe an extraneous space, as an asterisk appears and the last Klingon phrase is in italics rather than bold.

"For example, if one person says qettaH mara "Mara is running", another may reply, 'e' vIlegh "I see that", referring with 'e' for to the previous sentence, * qettaH mara."

--A few paragraphs below on the same page, there's formatting issues causing gagh to appear in slanted rather than bold type.

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